THE CONSEQUENCES OF FREEDOM / Albania
Lorin Terezi was born in Tirana, Albania. He graduated the Academy of Arts for Theater Directing. Later he graduated in the same university for Movie and TV directing. He has won the first prize in the \’Youth Theater Festival\’ for best play, with \’The glass menagerie\’. He is the author of the short movie \”Tirana 100 Km\”, a movie who has been selected and nominated in many international film festivals. His second short movie produced by the Albanian National Film Center premiered in Flickerfest International Short Film Festival (Oscar and Bafta accredited) in Sydney Australia and won “Best International Short”, a prize which gave him the right to qualify for the Oscar race in the live action section. Int’l short film festival of Cyprus gave “The news” the right to be nominated in the European Film Academy Awards 2021. Lorin’s first feature film won the support of the Albanian Film Centre.
During isolated Albania’s transition from communism, a family of five is murdered by two brothers in what is classified as a robbery. At least this is what was reported on the news in the early 1990s. After his older brother, Mark, migrates to Greece, young Gjon crafts the traditional Albanian plis (fez caps), helped by his sister, Agia, standing together, selling their wares at the edge of a busy motorway. Their luck changes when they meet a trader, Mario, who wants to enter into business with the duo, offering to help sell their characteristic Albanian plis to the rest of Europe. The business turns out to be successful but the trader takes advantage; harassing and abusing Gjon’s innocent sister. Mark returns from Greece. In the dead of night, the two brothers murder the trader and his family in cold blood. The communist code of justice sentences them both to death. With dignity, Gjon and Mark accept the verdict of capital punishment, believing this to be their only chance of salvation to keep their sister’s honour and to give meaning to their own self-destruction. Based on a true story.
• ‘The glass menagerie’ Tennessee Williams, 2011 Albanian National Theatre First prize in the \’Youth Theater Festival\’ for best play
• ‘Delight of Adultery’ Valentin Krasnogorov, 2018 Albanian National Theatre “Kujtim Spahivogli” 2019
• ‘Barefoot in the Park’ Neil Simon Albanian National Theatre Filmography
• Soros / Rrathë III February 2015 Short documentary “Mungesë” Winner of First Price of the competition “Rrathë III”
• Short Movie Director (screenplay) Academy of Arts March 2015 Short movie “Limelight”
• Short movie Director “Tirana 100KM” Albanian National Centre of Cinematography
• Short movie Director “The News” Albanian National Centre of Cinematography Winner of Best International Short in Flickerfest Australia
The consequenses of freedom is based on a true story. On May 29, 1992, a family of five was murdered, including a small baby, in the East European nation of Albania. The event shook public opinion in a country which had just emerged from five decades of intense communist dictatorship. The perpetrators were two brothers who were sentenced to death by hanging in the city square. Supposedly robbery was the reason behind this gruesome act. Their bodies of the brothers remained dangling from the gallows for twenty four hours as an example for everyone to see. This was the last death sentence carried out in Albania.
Since I was a child, growing up in Albania, this event left a deep mark on me. I thought of it often over the years. One day I came upon a story by a very beloved Albanian writer (author Teodor Keko), who’d written that the brothers had committed these murders in order to save their family honor after one of the victims had raped their sister, a fact not mentioned in the court trial.
My film is based on the story I first read, followed up by my research on the vague police reports in existence. But what drew me most was the state of my homeland, Albania, during this time in the 1990s: the end of a harsh dictatorship and the beginning of an unstable democracy, the specific anthropological mentality of that era. The notion of freedom was the headline of those times, a free and fair market, capped by the slogan, “We will make Albania like Europe”.
How did Gjon and his sister experience this deep sociological shift? Two peasant children, raised with an Ottoman mentality coupled the strict rules of a society lead by a fake ideology? Now free from the chains of dictatorship, what did they think of Europe? The traditional plis caps that Europe is attracted to in my story were, “for a head bigger than their little head”.
Even though his brother has violent instincts, Gjon worships his older sibling, Mark, as any wide-eyed teenager might. Gjon does not realize the depth of these brutal tendencies; he only feels bad to not be able to emulate his brother’s behavior. It never crosses the minds of Gjon and Mark to seek justice through the system; they handle their affairs in private, strictly following the ancient honor code.
The constant refrain in Albania in the 1990s was “Freedom”; people seemed to do things simply because they now could. The adrenaline of freedom blindly guided people who had little or no idea what freedom actually was, and with no knowledge of the responsibilities that came along with it. By no means do I wish to victimize these brothers and I absolutely don’t want to pass them off as heroes. Their crime is terrible. For me, these characters are victims of their own story and punished accordingly. But my goal is to portray their story without prejudice. They are not extraterrestrials, they have grown up and lived among us.
At the outset to the story, Gjon has two role models, a father who teaches him how to make the traditional plis caps, and a brother who uses the knife too easily: he cuts off a turkey\’s head, then immediately threatens to stab his future brother-in-law, Agim. The teenage Gjon grows up between tradition and the power that violence gives an individual. The sister is inviolable, she is protected with life. Their father, Gjegj’s, vision is limited by the land he’s received. In his mind, his children are his labor force. Immigration is inconceivable to him and he dies opposing the oncoming changes in Eastern Europe.
The innocent brother and sister are left all alone in front of a rampant society without limits. Gjon feels proud and the businessman Mario is his source of this respect. If the older brother had not left, the businessman Mario would not have dared to take advantage of his sister. Mario harasses the sister because he can. The tough Mario finds Gjon and Agia, naive and vulnerable, and he holds the power of their dreams of success and fortune. There is no more fear, there is no more dictatorship.
Structurally, the exposition depicts our characters authentically, staying true to their environment. As a result, the crime comes in a flashback in the penultimate scene. The brothers’ monstrous revenge far surpasses the injustice committed to them. Innocent people are killed because Mark\’s knife has this power. Mark and Gjon destroyed a family and ultimately destroyed themselves. They don’t oppose the death penalty handed down to them because their quest for revenge went far beyond mere retribution. The death penalty also satisfies the blind, mindless crowd while the hopeful slogan, “We will make Albania like Europe” cannot be reached, even to this day.
These murdering brothers want to give meaning to their crime. At the very least, they hope their sister, Agia, will marry and live with honor. Their brother-in-law, Agim, rapes Agia fearing that she is not a virgin. He does this action, because he can.
The consequenses of freedom is a tragedy. My heroes are murderers who die for a primitive and archaic cause that has no value, belonging to a time that has become rotten. Our protagonist, Gjon, has lived between two extreme societal models, represented by none, unable to become either. The tragic irony precedes a long transition period that continues to haunt the Albanian people.
The style of the film is realistic. The images will be conveyed in long shots and with few editing cuts, especially in the earlier communist sections where the characters are integrated into the atmosphere of those chaotic years.
When the political system changes, the camera lenses will change too. For example, in Gjon\’s medium close and close-up shots during the dictatorship sequences, these will be shot with a 75mm lens while the democracy section will be shot with a 25mm lens. The composed frames during the scenes in the time of dictatorship will be tighter compared to the framing in the democracy sequences where the characters will have more space around them.
The village atmosphere will be conveyed in relation to actions of the characters. After the murders, the editing pace will quicken in order to intensify the mystery and suspense. The deadly crime itself will be seen through Gjon’s eyes in one long, uncut shot. The compositions of the actors must be naive and affectionate, with the exception of Mark’s, who will be chosen after a close analysis of criminal faces. The music will be a mix of traditional folk integrated with the modern music of the 1990s.
Producer: Florenc Papas (Albania)
Co-producer: Besnik Krapi (Kosovo)
Total Budget: 500000 EUR
Funding: Albanian National Film Centre, Albanian Radio Television, Kosovo National Film Centre
Training and markets: First Film First, Mediterranean Film Institute